The Conundrum: Do I Actually LIKE Running?

This past weekend I went back to my college alma mater for what amounts to our version of Homecoming, Carol Night. Yes, this is what happens when you went to a small school that never had a football program and only became coed about 2-3 years before your freshman year. Regardless, it’s always good going back and seeing your friends that you don’t get the chance to see nearly as often anymore because of the barren wasteland that comprises post college social life. So when the opportunity arises to go out with your college friends, catch up, and drink a fraction of what you all could when you had the liver of a 21 year old, you take it.

While attending the after party for Carol Night, talk turned to my weight loss and how I dropped so much. As I mentioned on almost every single one of these posts so far, running is one of the biggest contributing factors in how I’ve made it this far. One of the questions posed to me throughout the course of the night was “Do you actually like running?” My automatic response “Of course I do!” But it was question that’s been rattling around my brain ever since it was asked. The more I think about that question and my relationship to running I’ve come to the realization that it’s much less cut and dry than a simple emphatic yes. It’s much more a “It’s Complicated.”

In broad generalities, cardio is the least liked aspect of the fitness world. Let’s get that out of the way first. Running takes a toll on your body that few other physical activities can. It’s part of the reason why I want nothing to do with a full marathon. It’s just not fun when you start talking about running any distance further than 13.1 miles, and even then you’re pushing it. Running without some form of purpose absolutely sucks. At least that’s what our subconscious would have us believe. That’s one of the most important things I have discovered over the past 10 months; the physical act of running is barely half the battle, the rest of it is purely mental.

The cerebral part of running is the part most people struggle with overcoming. Our brains telling us “Ok buddy. We’ve gone 1/4 of a mile already we can totally stop now and go back and have some waffles! You remember waffles right? With a nice heaping side of maple bacon, doesn’t that sound better than running another mile?” It’s those thoughts that follow you every step you take. That’s why having an excellent running playlist to drown out the lazy thoughts is essential to every run. Without the music, I know I’ll get consumed by an internal debate about whether Reservoir Dogs or Pulp Fiction is the best Quentin Tarantino movie. The answer is Reservoir Dogs, don’t be a sheep and say Pulp Fiction. Either way, there’s plenty of physical and mental obstacles that making running more of a chore than an actual enjoyable activity. However, once you cut through the litany of bullshittery you tell yourself why running is a waste of time, you come to a realization. Running is one of the most cathartic and life affirming physical activities you can do.

So to answer the original question “Do I like actually like running?” Yes, I do. I just had to teach myself how to sift through the bullshittery and find the reasons why running is a worthwhile pursuit and truly cathartic. And then my hamstrings decide to start yelling at me because I try to go up some stairs and then i’m back at square one. So let’s say it’s complicated.

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